Middle School Curriculum
Our Middle School students are making the pivotal transition from late childhood to adolescence. They acquire the study habits and organizational skills to navigate a daily menu of academic subjects taught by Upper School specialist teachers.
The table below outlines the structure of the program. It consists of two distinct Cycles. Sixth Grade is viewed as a year of adaptation. It is the culmination of Cycle 3, a gentle. age appropriate preparation for the rigors and more sophisticated expectations of Cycle 4.
By Middle School the students are competent balanced bilinguals and are primed for accelerated third language studies (in Spanish, Italian, Mandarin or Arabic).
In France, Middle School (Collège) is a four year program of study, continuing to troisième, the equivalent of Grade 9 in the US system. At the end of troisième students in French schools all over the world take national examinations called the Brevet des collèges. Most of our 8th grade students continue in our French Track at the International High School and take the Brevet, the poetic culmination, and validation, of a ten year bilingual quest!
Going Deeper: Middle School Cycles
Grade 6: Cycle d'Adaptation
Grades 7 and 8: Cycle Central
Middle School Program Highlights
Our “balanced bilingual” students study literary greats like Shakespeare and Molière. Other authors include: Gerald Durrell, Richard Wright and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. As early as Grade 6, the students read and analyze an abridged French version of Homer’s Odyssey.
Our students are fearless language exponents by the end of 5th Grade. We offer fast-paced beginning courses in Spanish, Mandarin and Italian and Arabic. Students can participate in cultural and linguistic adventures in a number of countries, including: China, Guatemala, Spain, Jordan and Italy.
In order to complement their mathematical studies in French (where geometry and line by line defensible logic are traditionally privileged), students attend intensive algebra classes taught in English. By the end of 8th Grade our students are solving quadratics and dividing complicated algebraic polynomials.
The famed French histoire-géographie program begins with the birth of agriculture in Mesopotamia and ends with revolution, the Enlightenment and the seeds of modernism. The approach is a global one rather than Eurocentric. Texts are chock full of documents and period artworks. Students learn to interpret primary and secondary source material themselves. The same critical thinking and evidence-based approach is echoed in our US history class taught in English.
Our students learn to manipulate scientific apparatus, analyze data and design their own experimental protocols.
We compete in basketball, soccer, volleyball, and cross-country against peer schools. Global citizenship is fostered through service learning, our peer conflict resolution program, Student Council and conference participation. Education of the whole student is rounded out by delightful and various opportunities for “days in the sun” in the performing and visual arts.
This genuine exchange is a rite of passage that takes place just before graduation. Our families have already hosted their French “correspondents” before the entire grade embarks for Paris in May. Many of our students initiate lifelong friendships and connections during this time. The Paris Exchange truly represents the culmination of Middle School and a ten-year bilingual quest for each one of our students.